Promoting Yemeni-German Cultural Ties [Archives:1998/41/Culture]

October 12 1998

Ms. Heike Thiele is the Second Secretary at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. She is also the Head of Cultural and Consular Affairs. She is also the link with local opinion-makers – journalists in particular.
Heike studied languages during 1980-85.
She spent the last three and a half year at the German Embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Q: What are your impressions of Yemen?
A: The people are really very friendly. When I heard that I should go to Sanaa, I felt very happy because I love this city, because I have read a lot about it.
Besides there is a very special feeling for Germany in Yemen. Germans are in a good standing in Yemen and you can feel at once. That means it’s easy for me to work here.
Q: Have you had much contact with Yemenis, especially in the media?
A: Well, I am new here, but I have already started making contacts. I was lucky there were some occasions like the National Day of Germany (3rd October) during which I met a lot of people.
(Heike also had close-up cntact with a number of people by hosting guests to follow the German election results on 27th September).
Q: Do you have any specific plans in mind that you hope to achieve while you are here in Yemen?
A: y first and foremost priority is to promote and expand cultural ties between Yemen and Germany. Developing the teaching of the German language in Yemen is a major part of that. At the same time, we have to expand our joint activities in movies, theater, painting, and other art forms.
As far as press relations are concerned, there is a lot that we can do together. I want to have close cooperation with journalists in order to know how the press in this country works and how we can cooperate. I already have a few ideas. While on the subject, I must express my admiration for the level of freedom of the press in this country.
Q: You are also in charge of the consular section. Are you going to change visa procedures?
A: I do not want to talk about visas because it is not up to me to change these matters. People who have commercial or other interests in Germany, go to the embassy which deals with them according to their individual cases.
The counsular affairs also handles human rights. I think that I have to go through a lot of files in the next couple of weeks, in order to get acquianted with the issues. I plan to get in contact with human rights organizations in Yemen. I also want to see what the government has done in this field.